Accidents galore in first snowfall

Police and fire departments are warning people that, although the depth of today's snow is shallow, the roads remain remarkably– and dangerously– icy. Consider what happened in this 3:35pm photo on Rio Road.

A maroon Toyota Camry was heading east into town, according to Albemarle police officer K. Richardson, when it spun on the icy surface and was broadsided by grey Jeep Grand Cherokee (in the background) travelling west.

"They're lucky," said Richardson, "minor injuries." Some witnesses, noticing that the Camry's passenger door was pushed all the way up to the driver's zone, speculated that a passenger (thankfully, the car didn't have one) would not have survived the impact.

Accumulations appear to be just an inch or two around Charlottesville, and the current precipitation is a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

The Weather Underground, in its 4:13pm forecast, calls for precipitation rates to increase from Charlottesville northeast to Washington, D.C., with Charlottesville the dividing line between snow and freezing rain.

The Weather Underground takes note of the accidents. "Even primary roads," it says, "have snow cover and are refreezing as ice within tire treads." Beware.

Sunday night update: Both the city and county schools have already announced the inevitable: they're closed Monday! (Also, City Hall and the County Office Building will delay their openings to 10am.)

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3 comments

I had to drive back from northern Virginia to Charlottesville this afternoon. I left around 5 p.m. and didn't get back to C-ville until almost 9. Parts of I-66 and 29 looked like they hadn't been touched by a plow. In the better places, I could get up to maybe 40 mph, in the rougher places it was scary to go faster than 20.

How can VDOT be so bad that it can't even handle 1-2 inches of snow, that was forecasted days in advance? This was even before the freezing rain kicked in. They seem to believe that we just shouldn't drive when it snows, regardless of where we need to be. Staying off the roads isn't always possible. The world doesn't cease to exist because of 1-2 inches of snow, VDOT shouldn't either.

Wow; it's great there was no passenger in that red car!!!

I don't know why I'm still here. I slid off I-81 in the same spot just 15 minutes before this precious family's lives changed forever. I was in my husband's pickup going south on I-81 when I slid off the passing lane and bounced along the median for what seemed like an eternity. Just short of the northbound lane, I cried out to God and made one final turn of the wheel and landed safely back in the middle of the median. This was nothing short of a miracle.

I did not know about the fatal accident just 15 minutes later. I was up the road with a flat tire waiting for AAA to come to my rescue. I did not hear about this fatality until Monday morning.

Tonight I read where the second lady had died in the hospital. My heart is breaking for the two 17-year old sons who lost their mother. My son is almost 16 and my daughter is 19; they lost their Dad 2 years ago to cancer and nearly lost their own mother on Sunday. It's never a "good time" to lose your parent. Please know that I am praying for these boys, that God will comfort them in their time of need.

I will never, ever forget January 21, 2007 and how close to this same thing could have happened to me. Thank you, Jesus.....